You’ll be happy to hear that I’ve been crafting up a storm for the holidays. As 2020 has been all about finding domestic pleasures where we can, I thought it might be nice to blog some old school posts about my recent adventures with scissors and moldy fruit.
But today I want to recap Thanksgiving. It was my first Thanksgiving back in the states, and I’m happy to report that, despite Covid times, it was excellent. The bounty of the Hudson Valley seems unparalleled, and I have so much to be thankful for in my new and unexpected home. I’m still trying to find my voice when not writing from a place of underlying despair, so I hope this somewhat frivolous post will spread some minor joy, encourage the support of small businesses, and exhibit the merits of slowing down and sharing more intimate space during pandemic times.
I was determined to stretch out the spirit of Thanksgiving as long as possible, and mercifully J and I managed to get a couple short hikes in during the week leading up to the holiday. As the landscape makes its bleak transition into winter, it is still offering beauty and unexpected vibrancy.
Thanks to my fantastic employers–purveyors off all things luxurious, handcrafted, and delicious that Upstate NY has to offer–I got my hands on a few local treats to make the holiday extra special. First up was a yummy shrub tonic from Weathertop Farm. “Legends of the Fall” was perfect for crafting a festive cocktail. We chose to mix one part shrub to two parts gold rum and top with lime seltzer. Heck yes!
And speaking of libations, we hit up the fabulous folks down the road at Kingston Wine for ideas on a couple of special (ie not $6 from “Liquor Barn”) bottles for the big day itself. They were very helpful, and we settled on an apple-blueberry fruit cider from the reliably tasty Rose Hill Farm (Red Hook, NY) and a funky Pinot Noir from Liten Buffel (Middleport, NY).
J decided to make the pie out of the Hubbard (or Ghost) squash that we picked at Seedsong Farm in October. (If you follow me on IG, you’ll know about my obsession with our farm share!! If you are able, join a CSA–it has brought so much joy.) This thing was masssssssive, and we had plenty of spare puree in the freezer.
Despite its ghostly blue appearance on the outside, this squash is actually beautifully golden on the inside. J made use of some divine local maple I brought from work and… out from the oven popped a pretty magical pie!
J is a really amazing cook, and I’ve been living off the (literal) fruits of his labour for months… so I was excited to hear his plans for the holiday feast. He’s not vegetarian, but he devised an entirely veg menu for me because, well, that’s the kind of person he is.
It was great fun spending the day in the kitchen together cooking and listening to music. YES I HELPED! I PREPPED SOME THINGS! I MADE MASHED POTATOES! THE RECIPE CALLED FOR FOUR STICKS OF BUTTER! FOUR! I ONLY USED TWO!
Edward helped too by sleeping all day on the kitchen floor.
I also enjoyed setting the table with some great finds from the consignment shop uptown. I got these red and white bowls for $1 each! One dollar! One! I thought they paired beautifully and festively with the dogwood plates (also purchased super cheaply secondhand). Dogwood blossoms always remind me of growing up in Georgia. As a child, my mom would provide me with index cards to make clever place settings and let me help her set the table.
Jane, of course, enjoyed eating my center piece foraged from Seedsong and the front yard. Edward ate her place card.
Dinner was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And we’ve enjoyed leftovers for a week.
We are so lucky to have been able to honour (and spurge on!) such beautiful ingredients, support local small businesses, and take time off work to have a peaceful day of feeling immense gratitude. It is almost incomprehensible how much things can change in a year–and amidst a global pandemic.
To anyone reading this who is in pain and struggling, who can’t imagine how things could get better: I deeply hear you. I know it’s almost impossible, but I beg you to keep your beautiful heart open and to keep going. And I am here if you need to talk.
Okay, I’ve got some pomanders that I’m busy ruining in the oven (like, wtf, are they supposed to be turning brown???)… better go check on them! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some crafting disasters and triumphs.
Love and peace.